Mazda is on a big push to improve the efficiency of all its new vehicles by using a suite of technologies called SkyActiv. The company already dropped a new 40-mpg SkyActiv four-cylinder engine into the 2012 Mazda3 (which I own and love), as well as launched the efficient 2013 CX-5 crossover, and now is following up with the 2014 Mazda6 sedan. Like the CX-5, the new midsizer is designed from the ground up to follow the SkyActiv mind set of reduced weight and improved efficiency. The car made its official debut at the Moscow Motor Show in Russia, and will go on sale around the world later this year.
Visually, the Mazda6 is the company’s latest expression of their Kodo (“Soul of Motion”) design language and draws heavily from the company’s well-received 2011 Takeri concept car. A widened, stretched version of Mazda’s five-point grille is employed and it’s perhaps the most attractive version of that design element to date. The grille is connected to the LED headlights via shiny bits, a design tactic reminiscent of the new BMW 3 Series.
According to chief designer Akira Tamatani, “We have created a design in which the wild and dynamic expressions of motion artistically realize a powerful presence.” The color seen here is called Soul Red, and was enveloped by Mazda to accentuate the shapes of the new 6.
At least in the cars shown in Russia, the 2014 Mazda6 will launch with an initial choice of two new four-cylinder gasoline engines, the SkyActiv-G 2.0-liter that generates 155hp at 6,000rpm and 145 lb-ft at 4,000rpm and the SkyActiv-G 2.5-liter delivering 189hp at 5,700rpm and 189 lb-ft at 3,250rpm. Both powerplants will be offered with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmissions and a standard i-stop idling stop system.
The 2.5-liter unit will also be the first Mazda engine to employ the brand’s new i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system that begins charging a capacitor the moment the driver takes his foot off the accelerator. The electricity stored is used to power electric components throughout the car instead of the engine thus resulting in further improvements in fuel economy.
Mazda promises that the tactility of the driver-touch materials and overall quality of the cabin design will be a dramatic step forward compared to the current car. NVH levels – a bugbear of the current range – have also been tackled. Safety features include Rear Vehicle Monitoring, Smart City Brake Support and Adaptive Front Lighting with High-Beam Control.
The North American specification version of the Mazda6 sedan as well as the Station Wagon model will premiere at the Paris Motor Show in late September, with more details about the powertrain choices that will include a diesel engine to be announced later.